Taylor Swift-Approved Mural ‘Lifts’ New Orleans After Katrina

If any city deserves an uplifting pair of wings, it’s New Orleans. 

Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of one of the worst natural disasters in American history, when Category 4 Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana, severely damaging New Orleans.

A decade later, the Crescent City’s definitely got its groove back, although hard-hit neighborhoods such as the Lower Ninth Ward are still rebuilding. But the overall vibe you get from this vibrant city? Positive.

So, street artist Kelsey Montague’s latest work fits right in. Montague recently brought one of her distinctive, larger-than-life wing murals to NOLA’s downtown. Paired with the viral hashtag #WhatLiftsYou, her interactive artwork invites bystanders to pose in front of the wings, share the image socially, and say what inspires them. Look closely at Montague’s mural and you’ll recognize iconic New Orleans symbols like Mardi Gras masks and beads.

The #WhatLiftsYou project is all about positivity and local pride — a perfect mashup for the still recovering city. The “uplifted” Instagrams are pouring in.

“The wings give the city a way to highlight its creative spirit,” Montague told New Orleans & Me. “You’re all warriors.”

“After Katrina, the world saw how strong the city was,” the artist went on to say. “I wasn’t there before, so I only came to know the essence of the city post-Katrina. It’s an amazing place, with so many talented people.”

Montague entered the public eye after pop star Taylor Swift posted a selfie in front of the artist’s drawing of wings last year in New York, provoking an Insta-hurricane that turned Montague and her project into an Internet sensation. The artist has since traveled all over the world painting her signature wings on walls from Las Vegas to New Zealand.

The New Orleans #WhatLiftsYou mural is located at 750 Carondelet St. and will be on display through October.

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